Automated microscopical wear debris analysis


A number of methods have previously been developed to enable microscopical analysis of oil wetted wear debris requires.  The main drawbacks of these techniques are the need for a level of expertise and experience by the operator, as well as being time consuming. 

Recent developments of techniques enable automation of both optical and electron microscopy examination of wear debris particulate.  These methods can give results ranging in size, morphology and composition of the samples, as well as providing classification of the results based on pre-set parameters.  This technology can tie in with particle counting/sizing standards such as ISO4406 and 4407.  There is also the advantage over automated particle counter systems primarily because there are no air or water bubbles within the sample, plus accurate measurement of elongated particles and fibres and larger particles.

This paper proposes to explore current microscopical techniques, the advantages over other methods and how the results can be used to assess rotating equipment health.